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Central Oregonians gather to celebrate Juneteenth in Bend’s Drake Park

Followed by 'Take Back the Butte' march up Pilot Butte

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ ) -- Central Oregonians gathered Friday afternoon in Bend's Drake Park to celebrate Juneteenth, a traditional day to recognize the end of slavery in America.

Participants said it was far different than any of the recent protests seen in Central Oregon, as it was simply about celebration and peace.

January 1, 1863 is when President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation declaring slaves free became official. But it wasn't until June 19, 1865 that slaves in Texas learned they were free.

Participants in Central Oregon gathered to celebrate the freedom for all.

Adriana Aquarius, organizer of the event and creator of the Central Oregon Diversity Project, said , "I’ve been trying to educate people. Many people think that July 4th is our independence day, but little do people know that two years later, there was still slavery alive in Texas.

"Juneteenth, June 19th , is the day that the military showed up in Texas and said, 'You slaves are free,'" Aquarius said. "So we consider that when the last of our chains were broken free.”

Aquarius and her friend, Josie Stanfield of Prineville, have been helping to coordinate Black Lives Matter protests in Central Oregon. Stanfield, who continues to protest regardless of public criticism and even death threats, said Friday is Jubilee Day.

“This is how they celebrated -- they came out and had food, music and dance. So that’s what we’re doing today," Stanfield said.

She said it's about changing the minds of others, one person at a time.

“It’s so important to keep having these conversations," Stanfield said. "You see people asking, 'Whats the point? Whats the point?' But every time we have an event like this, we change five or 10 peoples minds on this.

"We change what they thought of us originally. Those five to 10 people then go on to talk to other people.”

At Drake Park, many had the opportunity to give speeches and testimonies. Speaker Teryl Young took the mic and shared a list of contributions and inventions by Black people in the United States. He shared the significance of why this was important. 

“I think because our history is usually suppressed, you never get the full history of why we matter," Young said. "I think I wanted to put that in the speech, that Black people contributed heavily to the development of this country. It needed to be shared, so people can hear the contributions.”

Another young woman at the event who is a member of the LGBTQIA community said it's about unifying all groups that are marginalized.

“People together bring power," Sequoia Williams said. "If someone speaks out, then a lot of people will come together and speak out as well, so that’s what I love and am happy about."

Following Friday's rally, many participants headed to Bend's Pilot Butte for a "Take Back the Butte" march up the landmark and a gathering at the summit, where the Ku Klux Klan burned crosses nearly a century ago.

Bend / Central Oregon / Deschutes County / Government-politics / Top Stories
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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.



  1. Some clearly delusional signs out there… “Racism is a pandemic too”… So what “pandemic have any of suffered here in Oregon this past year ? Answer- None ! The Wuhan China virus didn’t even reach epidemic levels- never materialized- was nothing but a huge farce- a hoax- a Democrat reason to violate civil liberties and destroy the State’s economy- there’s your crime- whatcha gonna do about it- walk up a hill ???

    1. You tell em’ BGHWuhan. You’re making a big difference in the community. I’m sure you’re family is proud of the troll you’ve become. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

      1. Yeh- and I’m sure yer family is still hiding your adoption papers… Cmon QuePee- a completely irrelevant personal attack that you just “snuck by” the moderator at this late hour… Boring !

    2. wow – read your post – seriously losing it – look what your life has become – struggling to be the first to post something before anyone else does on every story on a local news website…

  2. Look at all the virtue signalers. The fact is, Racism is alive. and constantly being resuscitated by the leftist race baiters. We could all live together peacefully if it were for the constant race baiting. Leave it alone. Stop already.

        1. Read this clown’s posts. He supports the Antifa and BLM murders of innocents. These violent thugs have convinced themselves they are the new Paul Revere.

      1. No he wasn’t. He was a career loser that actually stuck a gun to a pregnant woman’s belly during a robbery. You know that and so does everybody else. He was a thug.

        1. I heard a really interesting story about him on NPR the other day. He was big into the music scene in Houston, started a really cool slow-rap style of music there that really took off. He gave his life to Jesus when he was in Prison and worked with ex-prisoners after he got out, helping them get their lives going with jobs and encouraging them to connect with a church. He moved to Minnesota to join a Christian outreach in Minneapolis. Like everyone else, he had good and bad in his life. He was trying to turn his life around, had done his time, and didn’t deserve to die at the hands (knees) of the police.

      2. he was far from a peaceful person, more like a career criminal high on meth at the time of arrest. Barney sensored my original comment to you. he is to much of a snowflake for the truth

      3. @anonymousktvz Lol, yeah, he was soooo peaceful when he pointed his gun at an unborn baby while his friend robbed her place. But no one looks at the bad things a lot of these guys have done, they just want an excuse to cry wolf.

      4. Seems to me that I watched, with my own eyes, a video of George Floyd resisting arrest while inside the patrol car. Didn’t seem to peaceful to me. The dude was high an meth and fentinyl. Yup! An upstanding member of your community anonymouse but not mine.

  3. Life is precious no matter the color of the skin. The Human race needs to learn so much from just listening to reality. There is just one race!!! The human race!!! we just happen to come in many skin tones. But we all migrated from the same place in history. Whether you believe in theology or evolution ism. They both teach the same thing. We all came from one place to populate the earth. We then evolved to adapt to the atmospherically differences in the regions we migrated to. Simple as that. So Stop and get over yourselves

    1. You are right we are one race, so why is it that people with darker skin are treated so differently by the police, employers and people of lighter skin?

        1. Come on, man. We can argue about how much to tax, or what to spend it on, or if teaching music is important, or how much to charge for trash collection, or a million other things. We should not need to revisit whether the sky is blue, or if gravity really makes things fall to the Earth, or if systemic racism exists in America, because some things are up for debate, and some things are just fact.

      1. last year cops killed 9 unarmed blacks compared to 19 unarmed whites, simple facts…. id be willing to bet the majority of you liberals have never lived in a black community, yet you pretend to care only to gain more votes. u people are pathetic

    2. don’t really get what you are going on about, or why, but it is impossible to square with your constant posts about “them” – you are at least conflicted, and possibly just deceitful for your own motivations

  4. Do you think that one single person left the hike up Pilot Butte to cross the street and go to the police station to thank officers in the facility for their dedication and hard work?!
    Nah, of course not. They can all go home tonight while our fine police department continues to keep our neighborhoods safe and patrol our streets. Thank you BPD and our equally outstanding Deschutes County Sheriff’s Department.

    1. Actually the BPD presence was very low profile.

      The Park Service employees at the Butte were appreciated / thanked by many.

      And there were several retired law enforcement officers participating in the event.

      The core leadership of COBLA and the event are military veterans. One reason why only American flags were carried up the Butte.

      Hope that clarifies things for you.

  5. I completely support Juneteenth as a national holiday. Slavery was a terrible institution. Period. Full stop. Anyone that has the slightest inclination otherwise should check out 12 years a slave. I am proud we moved past it. I feel no guilt about it. I didn’t own any slaves, so my conscience is clear. Even if my family owned slaves (don’t know, but doubt it) i would feel no sense of remorse. The sins of my father are not mine. I do feel that the current movement to make it a national holiday is all about virtue signaling, which somehow makes it feel dirty and propped up, to be used as propaganda. I wish this movement had occurred in a different time. Queen Kate just makes it feel like a gross pander.

      1. How so ? Not enough self reflection- needs more groveling- maybe some self admonishment ?

        Instead of criticizing Orred’s post- why don’t you enlighten us all to your moment of “wokeness” ! How exctly did you “move past” your privileges ?

      2. @2pei “their words show they haven’t moved past it” Do you even know what you’re going on about? What is there for this person to move past? They agree racism is bad, they agree slavery was bad but they also understand what happened in the past can’t be blamed on them when they had nothing to do with it. Most people are good, most cops are good. The only flaw here is that we are human, leave it to a few horrible people to ruin it for the many good. Anyone believing otherwise watches too much news or just believe anything their politicians say.

  6. The stupidest comments are the “stop talking about it will go away” I mean it hasn’t happened for 250 years why would it just go away all of a sudden? it won’t, it will just stay below the surface hidden in closets to come out an kill again!

  7. Nonsense. Talk about it for what it is. A terrible relic of times gone by. Don’t make it for more than it is. If it is really killing that you are concerned about the there are far bigger fish to fry. Don’t make mountains out of molehills.

  8. Republicans should make it a national holiday. Let it be known the republicans ended slavery much to the opposition of the racist democrat party.

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